Marking Sunshine Week, McCaskill Continues Investigations to Deliver Results for Missouri
Senator’s long record of aggressive investigations—including into opioids, sex trafficking, veterans care, prescription drug costs, wartime contracting—have produced tangible results
WASHINGTON – Marking “Sunshine Week”—a national initiative to promote open government and freedom of information—U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill is continuing her dogged investigations and pursuit of government oversight to shine a light on waste, fraud, and abuse and deliver results for Missourians.
“Missourians sent me to Washington to fight for them, protect their tax dollars, and get results—and I’ll use every last tool I’ve got to get that done,” McCaskill said. “Through dogged investigations and a stubborn pursuit of the truth, we’ve rooted out waste, exposed fraud, and ended abuses—whether it’s the shady practices of drug companies or a website that traffics minors for sex—and then got to work across the aisle to pass laws to prevent those abuses from happening again.”
As Missouri state auditor, McCaskill was the first in the position to do “sting” investigations into compliance with Missouri’s Sunshine Laws—aggressive investigatory work for which she was awarded the Missouri Press Association’s Sunshine Award. Since joining the Senate, McCaskill has served on the body’s top oversight committee, the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and now serves as the committee’s top-ranking Democrat—a role in which she has continued to prioritize government accountability and transparency.
Last year, a non-partisan organization ranked McCaskill the top Senator for government transparency.
Highlights of McCaskill’s investigations include:
- Exposing the origins of the opioid epidemic: by investigating the sales and marketing tactics of top opioid manufacturers, McCaskill has exposed fraud, improper sales practices, and efforts to push back on prescription limits—including millions of dollars in previously undisclosed payments to advocacy organizations.
- Combating sex trafficking: McCaskill’s two-year bipartisan investigation into Backpage—which included a victory at the Supreme Court which forced the company to comply with the Senator’s subpoena for records and documents—showed that the company had knowingly facilitated online sex trafficking, and built the foundation for legislative fixes to prevent the next Backpage.
- Ensuring our veterans receive the care and respect they deserve: McCaskill’s investigation into the U.S. government’s use of mustard gas on American soldiers during World War II led to the passage of the Arla Harrell Act, which has resulted in nearly $1 million in previously denied claims for 17 veterans. Additionally, McCaskill’s aggressive investigation into mismanagement of Arlington National Cemetery resulted in her passing a law to bring increased oversight and accountability to the national treasure—ensuring fallen veterans get the respect they deserve.
- Lowering prescription drug costs: following the only bipartisan investigation into the causes, impacts, and potential solutions to the egregious price spikes for certain drugs that McCaskill spearheaded with Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine, they passed a law to increase competition for generic drugs and help curb spikes in prescription costs.
- Taking on wasteful wartime contractors: throughout her first term, McCaskill took on wartime contractors, ferreting out billions in wasted taxpayer dollars. As a result of her investigations, McCaskill passed into law measures prohibiting taxpayer funding from use by the Afghanistan Infrastructure Fund, and establishing a permanent prohibition on infrastructure projects in Afghanistan that can’t be accessed by oversight personnel.
- Rooting out waste, fraud, and abuse: following years of McCaskill’s oversight efforts, a report from the government’s top watchdog revealed massive fraud and waste in the Federal Communications Commission’s Lifeline program. After McCaskill called for action against phone companies that profited from violating Lifeline rules, the Federal Communications Commission announced settlements with five Lifeline providers. Under the settlements, these companies paid back all improper payments they had received, in addition to over $2.3 million in penalties.